Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced a new partnership with Verizon to make Boston one of the most technologically advanced cities in the country by replacing its copper-based infrastructure with a state-of-the-art fiber-optic network platform across the city. The new network will offer enormous bandwidth and speeds. Through an investment of more than $300 million from Verizon over six years, this change will bring increased competition and choice for broadband and entertainment services in Boston, and support the ongoing efforts to spur innovation and economic opportunity in all neighborhoods.
Construction of the fiber-optic network will be completed by neighborhood to concentrate resources and provide an expedited timeline. Initially, the project will begin in Dorchester, West Roxbury and the Dudley Square neighborhood of Roxbury in 2016, followed by Hyde Park, Mattapan, and other areas of Roxbury and Jamaica Plain. The city has also agreed to provide an expedited permitting process to encourage this build.
“Boston is moving faster than our current infrastructure can support, and a modern fiber-optic communications platform will make us a next-level city,” Mayor Walsh said. “Additionally, it is a priority to ensure that every resident has expanded access to broadband and increasing competition is critical to reaching that goal. I thank Verizon for their investment in Boston and for partnering with the city to provide the foundation for future technology growth.”
Boston has long been a leader in innovative communications technology, dating back to 1877 with the first old-time telephone line from Boston to Somerville. In 2010, Verizon built one of the world’s first 4G LTE networks in Boston and, shortly after, opened its Waltham Innovation Center, which will host Verizon’s development and testing of cutting-edge 5G wireless.
“This transformation isn’t just about advanced new fiber-optic technology – it’s about the innovative services this platform will allow people to create and use, today and in the future,” Verizon Wireline Network President Bob Mudge said. “We are delivering the promise of the digital world to families, schools and medical facilities, businesses and entrepreneurs, while strengthening our neighborhoods and communities. We are a proud partner in building toward a brighter, shared future.”
This partnership will also improve wireless services in Boston by enabling Verizon to attach wireless equipment to city street lights and utility poles, helping residents get fast, reliable mobile service.
As a next step, the city will begin the cable television licensing process. Upon successful completion of the licensing process, Verizon expects to offer Fios TV service in Boston. Similar franchise agreements have resulted in benefits for the city and its residents including financial support for public access and digital equity programs, and connectivity for schools and other community institutions.
Underscoring the city’s and Verizon’s shared vision of using new technology to improve economic opportunity for low-income residents, Verizon kicked off the new collaboration by presenting a $100,000 Digital Equity contribution to the city, which will be used to support a mobile hotspot lending program at the Boston Public Library enabling internet access to families on an as-needed basis. More info to come.
“Innovators, entrepreneurs and businesses in neighborhoods throughout Boston desire local spaces with strong connectivity to foster their ideas,” said Alessandra Brown, program manager, Roxbury Innovation Center. “For people and groups who utilize the Roxbury Innovation Center, this fiber-optic build-out means better access to information, technology, and education services, while laying the groundwork for continued growth for years to come. The Dudley Square neighborhood, like so many areas of Boston, will greatly benefit from this fiber-optic network, enabling opportunity and promoting economic development.”
In addition to its other benefits, this partnership includes an innovative “Smart Cities” trial that will address traffic safety and congestion along the Massachusetts Avenue Vision Zero Priority Corridor. The city and Verizon will experiment with sensors and advanced traffic signal control technology to increase safety, measure bicycle traffic, improve public transit vehicle flow, and decrease congestion. Future “Smart Cities” applications will address other key services Bostonians care about, including environmental sensors, energy efficiency, and city lighting management.
All neighborhood residents and small businesses will have a voice in which neighborhoods get fiber-optics technology first. A free online registration process will be used to assess demand and help Verizon prioritize its fiber-optic network construction schedule. Residents and businesses should visit verizon.com/BostonFiber to register and cast their vote, beginning with the Dorchester, West Roxbury and Dudley Square area neighborhoods.